Arsene Bites Back
A mixed media bag this week, praised and berated in equal measure after the two wins over Bolton. Even the vitriol over William Gallas has now subsided, support emerging for the Frenchman as Arsene revealed that talks are ongoing with his representatives over renewing his contract for two years, a volte face on the part of the manager but a welcome turn of events nonetheless.
Ricardo Fuller has played his part as well. The Stoke forward has told the world that Arsenal cannot handle physical sides, noting that Chelsea and Bolton have roughed us up and won. Well, the former may be physically stronger and functional but the difference between the two sides in the last two meetings at The Emirates has been taking their chances and defending well. As for Bolton, Fuller is apparently unaware of the recent history between the two sides, with Arsenal not having lost in the last eight meetings. Physical approaches always work, eh Ricardo?
Still his outburst has played into Wenger’s hands, an opportunity that was too good to miss on his part, allowing him to air his grievances without being condemned as whinging, no matter how legitimate they are. First target was Matthew Taylor of Bolton, his hardman hair pulling and stamping on Cesc brought to the media’s attention and The Sun has this morning duly obliged, publishing a two page spread of the incident with suitably enlarged photos to accompany it.
Wenger is in no doubt who was to blame for the media circus surrounding Gallas’ tackle on Davies; step forward Sky. It is unsurprising that they are the dominant market force in UK broadcasting of sport with the added bonus of being part of the group which publishes the biggest-selling tabloid and broadsheet.
That position does not guarantee any high standards of content or journalistic quality but with format of Sky Sports News is such that the ‘brainwashing‘ Arsene spoke of, is simple to induce. Rapidly repeating the same stories every 15 minutes allows momentum to generate behind the biggest and smallest of events, depending on the agenda the organisation is following which in Sky‘s case means that sensationalism wins every time over integrity.
No doubt Wenger is using this, perhaps more subtley, to forge a siege mentality, a mental hardness within the squad. His bone of contention is the lack of penalties awarded to Arsenal, four denied in the last two games alone. He believes that the Sky-driven furore following the alledged dive by Eduardo in the Champions League qualifier against Celtic is the root of the incident.
It is more deep-rooted than that. Robert Pires was the first target of media criticism over diving and a myth that built up is hard to shake off instantly. Once a belief gains ground, subsequent incidents reinforce it, genuine cases are treated with suspicion, the benefit of the doubt given to the sinner rather than the victim. Referees will of course deny that such prejudices exist which in the majority of cases are subconscious, such is human nature.
Away from that, Wenger disappointed those who are adamant that a striker is very much required if the title is to be won, claiming that Nicklas Bendtner is the answer to the problem. The Dane can be part of the solution and perhaps this opportunity is his ‘Flamini’ moment, a chance to show his detractors how wrong they are. The first thing he needs is fitness and then history will judge.
Posted on January 23, 2010, in Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, FA Cup, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Stoke City. Bookmark the permalink. 111 Comments.